Antipsychotic Drug Prescribing in UK Mental Health Services (British Journal of Psychiatry)

[A version of this item appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 3 Issue 2, September 2012].


Researchers attempted to estimate the prevalence of antipsychotic use for dementia in secondary mental health services in the UK and to assess the impact of quality improvement initiatives regarding antipsychotic prescribing practice for patients with dementia under the care of specialist older people’s mental health services.

This study looked at data about 10,199 patients, from fifty-four mental health National Health Service (NHS) trusts. Agitation, psychotic symptoms, aggression and distress resulted in 1620 (16%) of these patients without comorbid psychotic illness being prescribed an antipsychotic. Younger age, a care home or an in-patient setting, vascular or Parkinson’s disease dementia and greater severity of dementia are significantly associated with being prescribed antipsychotic medication. Of the 1001 (62%) patients prescribed treatment for more than 6 months, only three-quarters had a documented review during the previous 6 months.

There are some aspects of relatively good current practice, including consideration of alternatives to antipsychotic medication and clear documentation of target symptoms, but the authors suggest some potential improvements; including the frequency and quality of reviews of long-term antipsychotic medication. Strategies to reduce antipsychotic use should take account of the demographic and clinical factors associated with an increased likelihood of antipsychotic prescription (above).

Full Text Link (Access to this article requires a suitable password, a journal subscription or a one-off payment).


Barnes, TR. Banerjee, S. [and] Collins, N. [et al] (2012). Antipsychotics in dementia: prevalence and quality of antipsychotic drug prescribing in UK mental health services. The British Journal of Psychiatry: the Journal of Mental Science, September 2012, 201, pp.221-6. [Epub July 12th 2012]. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).

About Dementia and Elderly Care News

Dementia and Elderly Care News. Wolverhampton Medical Institute: WMI. (jh)
This entry was posted in Acute Hospitals, Antipsychotics, Community Care, For Doctors (mostly), For Nurses and Therapists (mostly), National, NHS, Pharmacological Treatments, Standards, UK, Universal Interest and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.